Senate hearings on public broadcasting; Educational television, part one
It was Senate hearings on public broadcasting. This is a special report produced by the national educational radio network through the facilities of WMU FM with American University Radio in Washington D.C. I many our public affairs director Bill Greenwood right here in the United States Senate Commerce Subcommittee on communications is now considering legislation to provide federal financial aid for Educational Television and Radio afford a series of hearings it was held in Washington D.C. earlier this month. A second Corday series is now under way in the public interest national educational radio presents a five part series over one hours. I show reports dealing with the major aspects of the Senate hearings on this program. I report number four will feature witnesses speaking on behalf of educational television. The fifth and final program in this
series will feature witnesses speaking primarily on behalf of educational radio. Wetness is whose testimony you will hear in a few moments include representatives of the National Educational Television Radio resident John F.. White public director and former FCC chairman William Henry and the National Association of educational broadcasters board chairman Edwin Burroughs representatives of the educational television stations will also speak. They include board chairman Jack G. McBride a board member and former FCC chairman Newton Minow former WMD TV New York Board Chairman Deborah Josephs and executive consultant C. Scott Fletcher. Members of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee who will be asking questions of these witnesses include chairman Senator John Doe Pastore MIKE MUNRO ne of Oklahoma Vance Hartke of Indiana Philip a hart of Michigan Russell Long of Louisiana Frank
Moss of Utah Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania James B Pearson of Kansas and Sen. Robert Griffin of Michigan. The first testimony you will hear is that of John F.. White. Student of National Educational Television I speak for the board of directors and the staff of any t. When I say that we regard this Bill F. 11:16 as a most enlightened forward looking and important piece of legislation whose anatman will ultimately furnish means to improve the quality of life for virtually every citizen of the United States. I know that the affiliated stations of any t share this belief. We are so squarely in favor of it an act meant and we wish to commend those who work and study whose whose work and study and creative imagination have shaped this bill and brought it up for consideration. Of Title 1 of this bill the appropriation of funds for facilities. I wish to say that the educational television facilities Act of 1962 has provided essential assistance for the construction of new E. TV
stations and the improvement of existing stations at a critical time in the history of noncommercial television. Title 1 permit this important act activity to continue and it's absolutely necessary. Title 3 the authorization and appropriation for a study of the creative use of instructional television. I wish also to say that such a study is long overdue. I would only hope that the study will not be concerned with that which has been done and has been meticulously studied already. But that it will focus on what needs to be done if instructional television is truly to be used to achieve the potential it holds for educational service in this nation. Neither title 1 nor Title 3 are new nor controversial title 2 which provides for the establishment of a nonprofit Broadcasting Corporation and the allocation of federal funds for this purpose is new. We endorse the central purpose of this legislation the use of federal funds as well as additional state local government and private funds for educational television and
for the purposes of program production distribution and general operations as well as purpose facilities. We also welcome the emphasis in this legislation on support for local station local stations are the foundation stones upon which all of ATV must stand if they are inadequate technically deficient or out of touch with the communities and the people they serve. Not even a first class national or regional service can make them fully effective. And the truth is that very few of our local station stations have had access to the kind of financing that permits them to produce the quantity and quality of local programs that are needed. This help they require. We also recall we applaud the recognition implicit in this bill that federally supported educational or public television should be free of political or bureaucratic influence. We believe that any legislation in this area should be uncompromising with respect to this principle and we raise the question whether a statement of
principle in this bill might be made more explicit. We believe that the proposed Corporation for Public Television as the trustee of the funds committed by the United States government and involved in questions of high policy should be free of direct involvement in the operations of the system for which it must provide financial support guidance review and appraisal. We accept that this legislation is intended to divorce the proposed corporation from the operational activities of networking scheduling and programming. We have been advised however that there is doubt as to whether this legislation will inevitably result construe. And we recommend that the point be clarified beyond doubt. We share your disparate determination Senator passed already that this bill contain and I quote you every possible safeguard against federal interference. Incidentally we have examined the statement by Secretary Gardner around Tuesday for clarification on this point. We find it an excellent statement that and I quote him. The
corporation would not and should not in my opinion be an operating organization but would provide support to operations carried out by others. In the end of his quote We are aware that some persons have felt that this bill is not sufficiently clear on this point and we welcome the reassurance provided by yourself and by Secretary Gardner In the absence of any such reassurance. The any keyboard and I would remain dubious about this title but given such reassurances by this committee and by this the secretary we can be enthusiastic to why calling your attention. Have you a copy of the bill before you. Not with me but I know it was someone you know the bill yes. And the purposes and activities of the corporation which appear on page 14 of the bill and now I'm directing your attention to subsection capital D D D ABC gave your town line 22. It reads as follows. Carry out its purposes and functions and
engage in its activities in ways that will most effectively assure a maximum freedom of the noncommercial education no television or radio broadcast systems and local stations from interference with or control of programme content or other activity. Now how much farther can you go in legislative writing. Apart from this question of how you shall fund that would give you the assurance that you're talking about. I think that the record the legislative history of this committee will take care of us or in other words you don't you don't carry any great apprehension that this is going to be a vehicle of propaganda to indoctrinate the minds of America. No I do not think that it needs to be this way nor that it will be with the legislative history that's been created here. However if one simply read the text it could be
and it could have been construed either way. But as I indicated in my testimony we are enthusiastic given that records are well of course this bill was written at the behest of the administration. And the administration has been very very careful in my view in making sure that no put Would that this vehicle will not be used for political motives. And it's been written in the bill it's been said in the president's message. And what strikes me is this that this language is comparable to the language that we have employed crime and time again as language you bought in all of our federally supported educational programs. And that's far even under the legislation that we have passed in educational help to our secondary schools. We have said many many times over and over again and written of in the law. That this is not to interfere in any way with the curriculum.
Of the institution and I think all of us are interested in that. That's been the pattern of our government and that's been the concern of the responsibility of the Congress and I. I would hope I would hope that the country at large understand that there is no what Nagel in intending here intended here on the part of the Congress or the administration to pull the wool over anybody's eyes. I should say so. SENATOR PASTORE even that the language of this bill is the strongest and best statement of this principle that we've seen in this entire dialogue that's gone on the past year and a half. I for one and I think I speak for all of my colleagues on this committee and especially my colleagues in the Senate. I wouldn't subscribe I wouldn't support I wouldn't advocate any legislation which would in any way be construed as a vehicle to impose upon the freedom of man's mind to think.
As he likes and to say what he thinks. I know that you wouldn't. And that's why we're enthusiastic about this bill. I might add that the greatest strength of National Educational Television in my opinion in the 15 years of existence has been its independence from from that kind of political control and influence. The only limits placed upon the producers of our programmes have been those of good taste and common sense. And these have been self imposed no outside source has been able to tell us what position to take on a controversial issue. Our programmes have been far from perfect. Many times we lack funds to do the kind of a job we wanted to do. On occasion I've disagreed with the judgment of the producer of a documentary and we've had many internal arguments over these matters but no one at the Ford Foundation has ever told us how to approach a subject or even what subject to approach and we must continue to be equally free from any kind of such interference. We have sought the advice from many sources but programme decisions right or wrong must be our own
decision or the decision of any producing agency for public television. This probably wouldn't it would not be possible however if we were responsible directly to the Congress or to the to any other branch of government. And herein lies the importance of the Corporation for Public Television. Our feeling is however that as the agency which makes the grant for the producing agent the companies the agency which must review those grants and that performance and at the end of the Year at the end as the agency which must set high policy and serve as the buffer between these producing agencies be they stations are national production agencies. They should not be placed in the position of both judge and jury of their own activities and therefore should not be doing the controlling the the interconnection the operations of the network. That that that that ought to be subcontracted to one to three
places with coordination below them and that then the stations the public unhappy with the performance of that service have the public corporation as a source of appeal. But if a public corporation does that and you're unhappy to once does one appeal to two words one in other words now you are on this point and I don't mean this. AS. Any criticism of the members of the Carnegie Commission. As I understand you now you disagree with Dr. Killian on this question yet is that correct. The ne t board and I do disagree with Dr. Killian on this play in other words you would leave it exactly as it is written in this bill exactly as it is written in this bill. I'll give you this independence that you're speaking about. That's right. And I do think that his method would be more or less co her save on the part of the local broadcasting station if you had to become a party to that to that program. That's right.
Because you see if they are doing it they are off all the stations in the instrument which is giving the local station money for their own local programming. And. The local stations have no appeal it. Frankly when Dr. Killian spoke about his method it was very appealing to me until I heard you this morning and I think under the circumstances I I admonished the staff to go into this in more depth. I think we want to be very careful about this. It appealed to me I must say very honestly it appealed to me when he spoke it. And now of course you raise a question from the very local level that you don't feel that this would grant you that kind of freedom. That's right. That you would that you would want a permit an analogy serve as any exist today. We receive our our financial support from the Ford Foundation. Any given year that we have not performed the
task to that satisfaction. They have been in a position to say all right you haven't done the job no more money. This. That corporation always had. But if a corporation is doing it if they decide what programs can be released on the network at what time how often. Who is to say no more money for this next year. In other words we believe that the corporation can be most effective in a if in a sense it serves as a foundation service on behalf of the American public. Responsible for high policy. Responsible for determination of who and how much money should or should be granted. As to why doesn't this fundamentally come back to the human element. I mean sometimes we we we demonstrate and manifest so much right. Over language that we use in writing legislation.
But fundamentally it doesn't much of this depend upon the character the integrity in the leadership and quality of the people who administer a law. Exactly sir. But one round don't you say don't you think for a moment that doesn't this all depend on the caliber of the 15 men who constitute this corporation. I mean after all they are being charged with the responsibility to promote and to develop an educational system in this country. And I want to film that no matter who is the president of the United States he will call upon the best minds in the best experience in the best background in order to carry out this responsibility. Now how could they actually put themselves in a position of wanting. Their responsibility and yet carrying out the effect of this whole crusade that we're talking about today. I mean fundamentally in the ultimate Doesn't it depend upon the people who are going to administer this.
Absolutely but I think that even they are in a stronger position to resist the pressures that are bound to come not just from government but from public etc. if they are defending principles and if they are different defending grantees and the system rather than if they are having to defend their own performance but people of integrity and strength in leadership and quality do not succumb to pressures. That's right. Well. I think you've made your point yes. So why don't I mean I'm just reading this thing now I understand you have sort of a different point of view on a very important subject and I think we have to study and I believe that I am more in support of the bill as it is written. Well I would hope that you fellows would get together now I maybe I'm a little too pragmatic on some of these matters but I'm going to come out of here with a bill. I'm supporting your bill. That's right. I know about it. The suggestion has been made here that in one
particular we change it. And you think that's quite important. I would hope that whatever needs to be refined here we can get together and do it because we're all on the same boat. We're all striving for the same objective. And let's get the job done. In other words let's come out here with legislation and not with a debate. I couldn't agree more. I want to mention one other aspect to the future of educational television. I think that it's important that we keep open our consideration of the Ford Foundation satellite proposal. And I was glad that the present president saw fit to include the mention of opinions matter. I was also happy to hear you say at the NAACP conference last month that you had not lost your interest in the satellite proposal. The reason we believe that this is important is not just the financial one. Indeed it's clear that it will not yield funds adequate for the total needs of the TV. Nevertheless the allocation to educational television of whatever funds it would yield would help to provide the insulation we seek that is important of course and is a loan sufficient job
sufficient justification for an act of such a plan. There is however another good argument for that proposal in my judgment it would make possible the achievement of a major goal of the Carnegie Commission and the president. The attainment of diversified programming by independent stations to a degree not previously contemplated. The first essential for this plan is the availability of at least two channels for distribution of information on cultural programs by an educational network under the Ford Foundation's proposal. Two channels could be devoted to this purpose. I do not believe that it would be practical under a system of landlines with two channels. The following method of operation becomes possible. The first channel on the satellite could be reserved or would at least be give first priority to national and international programs of importance. The second channel could be used for regional or state programs in the off hours both channels would be available for optional programs such as those supplied by the NE T flexible library or the NE ABC
service. Among others the virtue of this system is that it gives both network and station the utmost in flexibility at any given moment in the broadcast day. Two streams of programming would be flowing into each station which could in turn choose to play it as it comes off the line recorded for later play or reject either or both streams. One would be a set of programs public affairs cultural live or tape that were deemed by the scheduling organization to be of national or general interest and importance. The other channel might be carrying alternative programs with a different emphasis instructional materials for classroom use. How to do it. Hobbies. Children's programs adult education of a specialized type with an emphasis upon regional programs and local programs. Many special interest programs would be produced by regional networks and local stations but. With two channels available we would in my opinion provide a great deal more Station independence and diversity than anyone has
suggested so far. The availability of two channels might in time have other interesting effect. It might stimulate some existing ie TV stations to Achab activate the second channels which have already been assigned but not used or to broadcast the whole second programme much as the BBC does with its parallel programmes. In those areas where there are competing TV stations a situation which is growing incidentally. It would be possible to offer a service to both without excessive duplication. But this is for the future and not the issue of the moment. The basis of satellite use for Educational Television is only one of many important issues that will have to be decided by your committee the Congress and perhaps by the corporation. Meanwhile any team and its affiliates have devised a plan to utilize diverse programme sources through landlines during the preset ally period. For the present I think the president and the sponsors of this legislation were why postponing the debate over
such matters as the eventual financing of noncommercial television. Patty just this much now that is before us will constitute a significant step forward for our society and we hope that it can be accomplished with the wife that the next wednesday. The case for educational broadcasting was further explained to the Senate subcommittee by the Board chairman of the NSA. I am Edwin G Burroughs chairman of the board of the National Association of educational broadcasters known as the N.A. EPA. I am manager of the University of Michigan Radio stations WUOM in Ann Arbor and W. BGR Grand Rapids Sosia director of broadcasting for the University of Michigan. And for several years of served as a member of the radio board of the National Association of educational broadcasters. On behalf of the NEA be a distinguished roster of nationally known individuals will testify in support of the public television act of 1067. The National Association of educational broadcasters gives enthusiastic a problem with the intent and
purpose of the proposed legislation and urges. It's an act meant. The M A B is the organized professional association of institutions and individuals engaged in areas of educational radio and television in the United States. Its membership consists of universities colleges public and private schools a nonprofit community corporations which operate or hold construction permits for one hundred and fifty educational radio stations. One hundred and fifty two television stations and one hundred three closed circuit television systems and program production centers. Its membership also includes two thousand two hundred seventy eight individuals who are classroom and studio teachers producers directors technicians and researchers involved in educational applications of radio and television. Throughout its 40 year history of the n AB has stimulated the growth and public awareness of educational broadcasting in this country recognizing that the strength of educational communications resides in the commitment of each local station to the changing needs of its own community. The NAACP has
served to coordinate these efforts on a national scale. In the area of television the n abs endorse the research and published findings of the Carnegie Commission on educational television recently held its second national conference on the long range financing of educational television stations. The composition and conclusions of that conference will be reviewed shortly by Mr Scott Potter in the area of radio and I ybe was co-sponsor of the Wingspread conference on educational radio as a national resource and has issued a significant research study called The Hidden medium. A status report on educational radio and this will be dealt with in detail by Mr Gerald Sandler later. The main point which I wish to make in these introductory remarks is that the NEA E.B. strongly endorses the purposes principles and processes outlined in this bill. We feel that it deals with the three major conditions that affect the future development of educational radio and television as instruments of social and educational advancement in this country. We feel that the three aspects of this bill are given special significance because they are together as a single
unit. They provide a comprehensive basis for helping to realize educational Broadcasting's potential. In short this bill continues and expands what has been so successful with respect to support for facilities the enemy be fails as the chairman of this bill deserves full and prompt support. Thank you very much. All right Mr. Henry. I'm here as a former chairman of the FCC as a now a public member of the board of directors of any. And as a citizen very much interested in the objectives of this bill. And I I can tell you that the bill has my enthusiastic support and I hope it's passed. I think it it goes back to my interest and it goes back at least two thousand nine hundred sixty four. I gave several speeches on it one of the things I said was that that educational television should permanently struggle for subsistence is intolerable.
And I think this bill I believe DNA thinks also that this goes a long way toward ending that struggle for subsistence. I think it's realistic in its approach. I think it adopts imaginative and appropriate means to reach highly desirable in. I think it's exciting and imaginative for a number of reasons. Chief among which is that it captures the essence of the Ford Foundation proposal. That is that something must be done now. And that we start on our way toward a very desirable objective. Secondly it embraces the central recommendation of the county commission on educational television in that it proposes a corporation for public television at the highest level that will be directed by a group of distinguished citizens. And I certainly agree with you that that really is the most important safeguard in in assuring the independence of the corporation that is the people who will be on it. The circumstances under which they are appointed and the
spotlight of national publicity that will be on them in the conduct of their responsibilities. One of the things I would like to emphasize and I think although I believe. The committee is aware and certainly you are. Is that. We in this country have matured. To the point where our concept of Broadcasting's potential should no longer be limited to the narrow view of commercial broadcasting. Commercial broadcasting his role in our society has been described many times before this committee. And there is no need to document its great contribution to the American public. Nor is it necessary to criticize commercial broadcasting in order to be aware of what is missing in it. And in my view this proposed legislation acknowledges that as yet in this country only a part of our nationwide broadcasting system has been established and that nothing in the present proposal suggests changing that structure or the rights or responsibilities of that part
- Educational television, part one
- Producing Organization
- National Association of Educational Broadcasters
- WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program, the first of two parts, features John F. White, president of National Educational Television (NET), and former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair E. William Henry. Also: Edwin Burrows; Jack McBride; and Newton Minow.
- Other Description
- Senate Hearings on Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, held during April 1967.
- Public Affairs
- Media type
Host: Greenwood, Bill
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Speaker: Bundy, McGeorge
Speaker: White, John F. (John Francis), 1917-2005
Speaker: Henry, Emil
Speaker: Minow, Newton N., 1926-
Speaker: McBride, Jack
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-Sp.5-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Senate hearings on public broadcasting; Educational television, part one,” 1967-04-15, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 7, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-xd0qwx65.
- MLA: “Senate hearings on public broadcasting; Educational television, part one.” 1967-04-15. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 7, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-xd0qwx65>.
- APA: Senate hearings on public broadcasting; Educational television, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-xd0qwx65